If there were ever a time for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to end their road woes, this is it.
Trying to make a last-ditch run at the postseason, the Mighty Ducks will take on the Chicago Blackhawks in the first of back-to-back road games against the worst teams from each conference.
One reason for Anaheim’s disappointing season following its trip to the Stanley Cup finals is its poor play away from home. The Ducks’ road record of 7-19-3-4 is fourth-worst in the NHL, and they have won just twice in 13 games away from the Arrowhead Pond since Jan. 1 (2-9-1-1).
Despite being below .500 since early December, Anaheim still has an outside shot at the playoffs. The Ducks have climbed to 10th place in the Western Conference by recording at least one point in 10 of 13 games, including two straight wins.
Now Anaheim visits the Blackhawks, who have won just once in their last six at the United Center (1-4-1) and are last in the West with 50 points. Next up for the Ducks is Saturday’s trip to Pittsburgh, which owns the league’s worst record and is winless in 15 home games since Dec. 29.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere has provided Anaheim with a big lift lately, going 3-1-1 with a 1.58 goals-against average in his last five starts.
Giguere made 28 saves Wednesday to record his third shutout of the season and first since Dec. 29 in a 2-0 victory over Minnesota. The Ducks were outshot 23-9 through two periods, but Samuel Pahlsson scored goals in the second and third periods.
“We came out flat and we played flat for two periods,” Giguere said. “It’s good that we got a win, but we have to play better.”
Chicago enters on an 0-2-2 winless streak, including Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay.
The Blackhawks are getting back one alternate captain for this game after losing one on Wednesday.
Leading goal scorer Kyle Calder broke his left leg in the final seconds against the Lightning and will miss the rest of the season. Eric Daze, a four-time 30-goal scorer, is expected to play Friday after missing nearly five months with a herniated disc.